“Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones..” Mark 13:1
For all that is playful there is yet a beautiful sadness in the Soane house, perfectly suited to a clear October afternoon, the whole construction, permanently on the cusp of autumn, waits for a Piranesian shaft of light to some time grace the corners of its rooms and usher in the total ruination of contemporary empires. Obsessive compulsive, this ordering of the past by an exquisite eccentric, or by a salesman dwelling amongst the tombs, or a narcissist dwelling on himself through a glass darkly, was he a happy man?
Mirrors preside throughout as passive 'recollectors' (Furján, 1997), panopticon flies on the wall, trapping one as the protagonist in his own Truman Show, and as brothel ceilings and fairground distorted mirrors, you seek yourself out for the reflected glory of a hero in this Romantic mythic structure.
If this building is the image of the form of the mind of John Soane, what a mind it must have been to be inside, what a sense of a layered and dramatic universe he must have held, what a wilful pursuing of the joy of measured light falling onto crafted form he sustained over such a period.